Principles and patterns of social games
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Principles and patterns of social games Principles and patterns of social games Presentation Transcript

  • Principles and patterns of social games Where’s the difference compared to other games? Staffan Björk Dept. of Applied IT, Gothenburg University Game Studio, Interactive Institute
  • Takeaway
    • An exploration in how to differentiate between the “new” trend of social games and ordinary games
    • Based upon these differences, some specific gameplay patterns that are commonly used in social games
  • Social Games
  • What is a Social Game?
  • A definition of play
    • Johan Huizinga
    • ” [Play is] a free activity standing quite consciously outside ”ordinary” life as being ”not serious”, but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly. It is an activity connected with no material interest, and no profit can be gained by it. It proceeds within its own proper boundaries of time and space according to fixed rules and in an orderly manner. It promotes the formation of social groupings , which tend to surround themselves with secrecy and to stress their difference from the common world by disguise or other means.”
    Huizinga, J. Homo Ludens, 1938
  • Arcade Halls: A Possible Culprit
  • Social Video Games
  • What is a game?
    • ” A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome , where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome , and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable . “
    • Jesper Juul
    • Borderline games lack of one requirement
      • E.g. tabletop roleplaying games, gambling
  • Social Games are Games
  • Casual Games
    • 5 Aspects of Game Design
      • Fiction
      • Usability
      • Interruptability
      • Difficulty & Punishment
      • Juiciness
    • Notes that games rarely are either casual or hardcore
  • Stereotypical Casual Players
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Interviewed Casual Players
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Stereotypical Hardcore Players
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Interviewed Ex-hardcore Players
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Interviewed Ex-hardcore Players
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Players - What about Games?
    • Player-centric approach
      • Study preferences
      • Study experiences
      • Can provide requirements
      • Actually activity-centric
    • Game-centric approach
      • Study game design
      • Analyze existing designs
      • Can provide specific design suggestions
  • Player and Game Flexibility Casual Hardcore Games Flexible Inflexible Players Inflexible Flexible
  • Affordances of Casual Games
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Affordances of Hardcore Games
    • Fiction preference
    • Game knowledge
    • Time investment
    • Attitude t. difficulty
    Positive Low Low Dislikes Negative High High Prefers
  • Not all Causal Games are Social
  • Playfulness in Facebook apps (Rao 2008, Järvinen 2009)
    • 5 Qualities
      • Symbolic Physicality
        • Social actions, e.g. poking, high-fiving
      • (Social) Spontaneity
        • Easy-to-use, familiar themes
      • Inherent Sociability
        • Intuitive starting points for collaboration
      • Narrativity
        • Telling the players’ stories
      • Asynchronicity
        • Removes need of planning game sessions
    • All but the last exist in face-to-face gaming
  • A Comparison
    • Casual Games Qualities
    • Fiction
    • Usability
    • Interruptability
    • Difficulty & Punishment
    • Juiciness
    • Player preferences
    • Playfulness Qualities
    • Symbolic Physicality
    • Spontaneity
    • Inherent Sociability
    • Narrativity
    • Asynchronicity
    • Player behavior
  • Summary, so far
    • Observations
      • Play is social in its’ nature
      • All games are social in some sense
        • If nothing else, players’ retelling their experiences
      • Qualities from Casual Games help explain players’ preferences towards these games
      • Qualities from Playfulness explain typical player behavior on the social networks
      • Other games may support these preferences and encourage these behavior
  • Social Games?!?
  • Taking a Platform Perspective
    • Social Games use social network platforms
      • E.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space
    • Characteristics of social networking sites
      • Have confirmed static network relations
      • Broadcasting of ephemeral events
        • Examplifies that social relations must be continuously traced (Latour’s Actor-Network Theory)
      • Social Games build gameplay on these characteristics
        • Not all games on facebook are social games
  • Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Games That build upon the functionality of social network platforms
  • Gameplay Design Patterns
    • “ Semi-formal inter-dependent descriptions of commonly reoccurring parts of the design of a game that concern gameplay ”
    • Björk & Holopainen
    • Separate function from form
    • Defines “fuzzy” concepts
    • Range from concrete to abstract
    • Work also for unintentional features
  • Gameplay Design Patterns, cont.
    • Examples
      • Achievements
      • Boss Monsters
      • Paper-Rock-Scissors
      • Power-Up
      • Cut Scenes
      • Role Reversal
      • Mutual Goals
      • Helplessness
  • Public Player Statistics
    • Information about players’ game instances that are publicly available.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Static Relations
      • Ephemeral Events
      • Global High Score Lists , Friend Lists
    • Consequences
      • Social Status
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Icy Tower
  • Persistent Game Worlds
    • The game state is independent from individual players' game and play sessions.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Static Relations
      • Spontaneity
      • Fiction
    • Consequences
      • Tick-Based Games
    • Examples: FrontierVille, WoW
  • Tick-Based Games
    • The game time progresses according to real time, but in discrete steps.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Persistent Game Worlds
    • Consequences
      • Asynchronicity
      • Asynchronous Games , Downtime , Encouraged Return Visits
    • Examples: Farmville, Parking Wars
  • Events Timed to the Real World
    • Gameplay events are initiated by specific real time events occurring.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Tick-Based Games
    • Consequences
      • Ephemeral Events
      • Evolving Gameplay Design , Encouraged Return Visits
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Harvest Moon
  • Evolving Gameplay Design
    • That the rules of a game instance changes as gameplay takes place.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Events Timed to the Real World
    • Consequences
      • Ephemeral Events
      • Encouraged Return Visits , Exploration , Red Queen Dilemma
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Farmville, Parking Wars, Tabletop RPGs, Nomic
  • Encouraged Return Visits (Based upon observations in Brathwaite, 2007)
    • Players are encouraged to return frequently to a certain part of the game space.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Catching Ephemeral Events
      • Continuous Goals
      • Risk/Reward
      • Tick-Based Games
    • Consequences
      • Grinding
    • Examples: Parking Wars
  • Grinding
    • The need to perform a certain task considered easy repeatedly.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Difficulty & Punishment
      • Encouraged Return Visits
    • Consequences
      • Pottering
    • Examples: Farmville, WoW
  • Drop-In/Drop-Out
    • Designed support to handle players entering and leaving ongoing game sessions.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Asynchronicity
      • Persistent Game Worlds
    • Consequences
      • Spontaneity
      • Ephemeral events
    • Examples: Pet Societies, Lego Star Wars
  • Private Game Spaces
    • Parts of the game space that only a single player can manipulate directly.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Difficulty & Punishments
      • Narrativity
      • Persistent Game Worlds + Drop-In/Drop-Out
    • Consequences
      • Construction , Visits , Massively Single-Player Games
    • Examples: Farmville, Puerto Rico
  • Massively Single-Player Online Games
    • Games that make use of other players’ game instances to provide input to the game state.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Asynchronicity
      • Private Game Spaces
    • Consequences
      • Symbolic Physicality
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Spore
  • Construction
    • Changing or rearranging game elements to form more complex structures.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Fiction
      • Narrativity
      • Private Game Spaces
    • Consequences
      • Pottering
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Farmville
  • Pottering
    • The management of game resources for its own sake.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Difficulty & Punishment
      • Grinding , Construction
    • Consequences
      • Static Relations
      • Juiciness
    • Examples: FrontierVille, The Sims
  • Visits
    • Temporary access to other players’ private game spaces.
    • Potential Enablers
        • Inherent Sociability
      • Private Game Spaces
    • Consequences
      • Ephemeral events
      • Massively Single-Player Games
    • Examples: Farmville, Puerto Rico
  • Altruistic Actions
    • Actions that have only explicit benefits for somebody else than is performing the action.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Free Gift Inventories , Visits
    • Consequences
      • Non-Player Help , Collaboration , Expected Reciprocity
    • Examples: Farmville, D&D Tiny Adventures
  • Free Gift Inventories
    • Players have an inventory of game items that can only be given to other players, but these items are generated for free.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
    • Consequences
      • Altruistic Actions
    • Examples: Farmville, Frontiersville
  • Non-Player Help
    • Players can receive help in the games by actions from those not playing.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Broadcasting Ephemeral Events
      • Altruistic Actions
    • Consequences
      • Symbolic Physicality
      • Extra-Game Event Broadcasting
    • Examples: Farmville, Lifelines in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
  • Invites (Based upon observations in Järvinen, 2009)
    • The use of inviting new players
    • to a game as game actions.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Static Relations
      • Drop-In/Drop-Out , Non-Player Help
    • Consequences
      • Extra-Game Event Broadcasting
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Farmville
  • Extra-Game Event Broadcasting
    • Game Events are broadcasted in a medium where others can perceived them.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Achievements , Invites , Non-Player Help
    • Consequences
      • Broadcasting Ephemeral Events
    • Examples: Mafia Wars, Xbox Live
  • Collaborative Actions
    • Compound actions that require several players to perform actions.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Altruistic Actions , Construction
    • Consequences
      • Symbolic Physicality
      • Cooperation , Delayed Reciprocity , Purchasable Game Advantages
    • Examples: Farmville, Pandemic
  • Delayed Reciprocity
    • Players perform actions to help others under the assumption that they later will be helped in return.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Altruistic Actions ,
      • Collaborative Actions
    • Consequences
      • Guilting
    • Examples: FrontierVille, Left 4 Dead
  • Guilting
    • Trying to influence another player’s actions based upon moral grounds.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Ephemeral Events
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Delayed Reciprocity
    • Examples: FrontierVille, Intrigue
  • Purchasable Game Advantages
    • Players can pay real currency to gain in-game advantage.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Difficulty & Punishment
      • Collaborative Actions ,
      • Social Status
    • Examples: FishVille, FrontierVille, Entropia Universe, MtG
  • Extra-Game Consequences
    • That some actions within a game has pre-defined effects outside the game system.
    • Potential Enablers
      • Inherent Sociability
      • Altruistic Actions , Purchasable
      • Game Advantages
    • Consequences
      • Static Relations
      • Social Status
    • Examples: Lil’ Green Patch, ‘sugar beets’ in Farmville
  • Summary
    • Social Games can be described as those making use of social networks to provide gameplay
      • Qualities from Casual Games help explain players’ preferences towards these games
      • Qualities from Playfulness explain typical player behaviour on the social networks
      • With this as a basis, several different types of gameplay design patterns can be identified
      • Some games provide their own social networks
  • Thank you! Questions?